Blogs > HNN > SELF CENSORSHIP REIGNS IN DENMARK AND SPAIN

Mar 24, 2006 11:21 am


SELF CENSORSHIP REIGNS IN DENMARK AND SPAIN



An email from Denmark:

Right now I am watching the evening news - a Norwegian stand-up-comedian, Shabaneh Rahman, has been canceled on a Danish theatre, and she is live on the 19.00-news:(Danish and Norwegian is almost the same language) She is Arab and makes a controversial show that (also) makes fun of elements of Islam. She thinks that the Danish theatre,"Betty Nansen Teatret", is making self-censorship in canceling her show. (She did get to perform in front of a women's group)

Well, and another of tonight stories in the evening-news: DSB [The Danish State-railways] said no to a commercial poster (from a book-publisher) that was supposed to hang on train-stations, because they found it a security-hazard at the times being.

The poster was a totally innocent commercial for a book about Islam - and the irony: The writer is known to be very obliging towards Islam...

But the minister of transport interfered and suddenly the directors of DSB reviewed"somebody's" judgement and the publisher was very welcome to make a new enquiry to get the poster up.

A similar case of self-censorship is taking place in Valencia where artists are afraid of satirizing Muslims:

At least one well known local Fallas artist admitted to removing elements from his display of comic sculptures.

He had sculpted three life-size figures of illegal Arab immigrants storming the Spanish border, in a reference to last year's crisis in Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's enclaves in North Africa, involving thousands of migrants. The artist has now removed details that identified them as Arabs.

The artist asked not to be named, partly for fear of reprisals, partly because he did not feel proud of such"self-censorship". But this year was"different", he said. Radical Muslim leaders appeared to be looking for excuses to cause trouble.

"We saw what happened in Denmark," he said."Those artists may have had the freedom to draw Mohammed, but now they're living as virtual prisoners. They have much less freedom than before. I felt responsible not just as an artist, but as a citizen of this city."

Félix Crespo, the senior official in charge of the Central Fallas Council that runs the festival, urged the neighbourhood committees that raise funds to build the sculptures to avoid mixing humour with religion,"because that can be misunderstood".

Everyone assumed these warnings referred to Islam because sculptures of Roman Catholic priests, nuns, even of God, are a central part of the Fallas.

Self-censorship may not be a substitute for logic but it has become part and parcel of the current Western reality. Also, see this.

Of course, there are always exceptions, here is a French exception.



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